Friday, November 22, 2019

The Simple Present Tense of Verbs

The Simple Present Tense of Verbs In English grammar, the simple present tense is a form of the verb that refers to an action or event that is ongoing or that regularly takes place in present time. For example, in the sentence he cries easily, the verb cries is an ongoing action that he easily does.   Except in the case of the word be, the simple present is represented in English by either the base form  of the verb like in I sing or the base form plus the third-person singular -s  inflection  as in She sings. A verb in the simple present tense can appear alone as the main verb in a sentence; this finite  verb form is called simple because it doesnt involve aspect. In English grammar, there are seven accepted functions of the usage of the simple present for of verbs: to express permanent states, general truths, habitual actions, live commentary, performative actions, past time or historic present, and future time. Basic Meaningof the Simple Present There are a variety of uses for the simple present in verb conjugation, but mostly it serves to keep the sentence structure itself grounded in the events happening presently, or as they relate to the here and now. Michael Pearces The Rutledge Dictionary of English Language Studies expertly lays out the seven commonly accepted functions of the simple present form of verbs: 1) Permanent state:  Jupiter  is  a very massive planet.2) General truth:  The earth  is  round.3) Habitual action:  Her daughter  works  in Rome.4) Live commentary:  In each case I  add  the two numbers: three plus three  gives  six . . ..5) Performative:  I  pronounce  you man and wife.6) Past time (see historic present):  He  moves  to the window alongside, and  sees  her inside the office moving away from the door. He  shoots  twice through the window and  kills  her.7) Future time:  My flight  leaves  at four thirty this afternoon. In each of these cases, the simple present serves to keep the verb form in the here and now, even when referring to past or future actions, the sentence is grounded in the present by these verbs, but there are more ways than one to express the present. Simple Present Versus Present Progressive As far as English grammar goes, the simple present does not fully function in describing ongoing events and instead the present progressive form of a verb must be used, although the simple present may be accepted colloquially to entail an ongoing action. Laura A. Michaelis describes this relationship through the example of the verb falls in Aspectual Grammar and Past Time Reference, wherein she says present-tense event predications, if intended as reports upon circumstances ongoing at present, must appear in the present progressive. In the instance of he falls, then, the verb may be interpreted as habitual, but it would be better to use he is falling instead. Using the present progressive, therefore, is more correct than using the simple progressive when stating something as ongoing rather than habitual.

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